WCSU in the Age of Reason

Paul Steinmetz writes about Western Connecticut State University

Must go to faculty author reading. Repeat: Must go …

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Part of my job is to plan events on campus, a task for which I was once woefully unprepared.

You would think that a newspaper editor, in charge of bringing a new product from concept to street corner every day of the year, would be good at planning other types of happenings, most of which are much less complicated.

You would be wrong. One day, while recovering from an especially dismal failure here, I analyzed the situation and figured out that at the newspaper, everyone else was doing the work. Sometimes I would assign or kill a story, tweak a headline, change a sentence around, and then I would take the credit for the whole operation. If the paper didn’t get to subscribers on time any given morning, I would blame the circulation department.

Soon after I arrived at Western, I was assigned the task of planning a ribbon cutting for a new parking garage. I ordered fancy invitations, which took too long to print and they arrived late. The one thing you really want at a ribbon cutting is a big audience to listen to the dignitaries, which in this case someone else had put together. I scrambled to assemble a crowd. My wife showed up, but she was lonely.

I think of my early efforts every time I plan an event.

The next one is coming up at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 30, in Warner Hall. As part of Banned Books Week, which we celebrate annually on campus, I organize a reading by WCSU faculty who have published books in the past year.

Each author reads from his or her book and talks for a few minutes about the process of writing, reporting and of actually becoming an author.

Here are this year’s authors and their books:

• Dr. Edward Hagan, professor in the department of writing, linguistics and creative process, “Goodbye Yeats and O’Neill: Farce in Contemporary Irish & Irish-American Narratives”
• Dr. Jane Gangi, associate professor in the instructional leadership program, “Deepening Literacy Learning: Art and Literature Engagements in K-8 Classrooms”
• Dr. Fred Maidment, associate professor in the management department, “Annual Editions: Human Resources, Management, and International Business”
• Dr. Bozena M. Padykula, assistant professor of nursing, “Giving through Teaching: How Nurse Educators are Changing the World”

Some of you are thinking you would rather go to a parking garage ribbon cutting, but in fact these faculty author readings are interesting, which makes it easier to deliver a decent crowd.

In past years, professors have discussed what excites them about teaching, and how they learned to use technology in the nursing lab, for instance. Others read their poetry or explained the history of jazz in New York. We have one professor who is a for-real best-selling author: Dr. Kevin Gutzman wrote “The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution,” which gets him frequent air-time on radio talk shows. You might not normally pick up a book on any of those topics, but whether they are famous or not, our faculty share a passion for their work that is not common. I could listen all day to people talk about what they love to do.

That’s why you should join us at 12:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 30 in Warner Hall. If you are attending from off-campus, park in the lot next to Old Main. Here is a campus map.

We will serve cookies. And you’ll get to meet my wife.

Follow Western Connecticut State University at www.wcsu.edu

Paul Steinmetz